claxp94 Posted July 28, 2010 Report Share Posted July 28, 2010 He's right. At least Jones knows it. Jon Jones likens his instant stardom to surfing a wave. The key to staying upright is to not think about where the water is taking him. "That whole 'next big thing' stuff, it sounds cool," Jones told MMAjunkie.com (http://www.mmajunkie.com). "But it doesn?t change anything about me or my family and my personal life. It doesn?t hold that much weight." And while many critics say his next opponent, Vladimir Matyushenko, is a lightweight obstacle, the 23-year-old fighter believes "The Janitor" is a better fighter than previous opponent Brandon Vera, whom he defeated in March. "I think Vladimir is tougher than Brandon Vera," Jones (10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) said. "I think Vladimir is tougher than Matt Hamill." On Sunday, the up-and-comer headlines his second consecutive UFC event when he takes on Matyushenkto (24-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC), a former light-heavyweight contender in the early days of the Zuffa LLC-owned UFC, at UFC on Versus 2 in San Diego. Matyushenko has been a tough sell for fans. When Jones sliced through Vera and Hamill in 2009, many observers expected him to take a big leap up the light-heavyweight ladder. (He faced Hamill at The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale and lost by disqualification after throwing an illegal elbow, though most fans consider it a win.) Despite a three-fight win streak, the announcement of his fight with Jones brought concern for the 39-year-old veteran's health. The term "bloodbath" was used to describe his fate. To critics, the matchup seemed like a lateral move for Jones. He had become a hot topic in fantasy fighting; how would he fare against middleweight champion Anderson Silva, Randy Couture or Lyoto Machida? His free-wheeling, try-anything brand of fighting seemed a tough matchup for anyone. With four decisive wins under his belt, it was just a matter of time before he held the belt. The sky was the limit. UFC president Dana White, though, was quick to pull back the reigns. He took a more conservative approach; the young prospect needed at least three fights and maybe another year before he would be considered for a title bid, he said. Jones was a breakout star, but he needed more seasoning. Jones says that's OK with him. He admits the hype is both "scary" and motivating. Per the usual UFC fighter's career spiel, he promises to fight anyone the UFC presents. But he said it's a mistake to count out Matyushenko. "I think he?s very underrated in this fight," Jones said. "You know, I've watched Vladimir's fights, pretty much all of them, and I watched them over and over again. I've watched him do some pretty extraordinary things and beat some pretty good fighters and just be a dominant grinder. Since his title bid at UFC 33, Matyushenko has lost just twice in 16 appearances (a knockout loss to former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski and a TKO loss to former PRIDE standout and current UFC fighter Antonio Rogerio Nogueira). After his UFC release in the wake of the Arlovski loss, he went on to win the heavyweight championship of the now-defunct IFL. "The Janitor" hasn't won many fans with his style, a ground-and-pound-heavy attack that often smothers opponents (and prompts boos from the crowd). Jones doesn't care about the way his opponent wins. He just sees a dangerous opponent. "With a record of 24-4, how do you not go to practice every day, and how do you not do those extra pushups," he asked. "How do you not do everything possible? In all reality, I think I should be the underdog in this fight, and I want to keep that mindset. "Yeah, [his style is] not flashy, and it's not exciting and dynamic. ... But, I mean, with 24 wins, you know how to win a fight, and I see that." There's also a laundry list of UFC upsets that bolster his concern. Before he heads to the arena, Jones still takes a clinical approach to his preparation and reads over a list of moves he's practiced in camp. He hasn't drifted too far from the early days of his career, when he gleaned fighting tips from YouTube, though he now has a world-class team behind him at Greg Jackson's camp in Albuquerque, N.M. The renowned trainer has firmly taken the reins of his development in the gym. "It's not my program; it's his program," Jones said. There's a lot more pressure on him as a headliner, but he says he's managing it the best he can. "The only difference (is that) you see your face in the hotel when you walk through the lobby, and you're the last guy to leave the locker room at the end of the night," Jones said. "But besides that, you know, none of it gets to me." His main goal is to progress as a martial artist and not fret over his career. "You know, I've had a really cool career ... this far, and everything is just going so fast for me, and it's just like this is the only way that I know how to ride it," Jones said. "So I'm just trying to ride it the right way and play all of my cards right and stay on that surfboard." http://mmajunkie.com/news/20083/jon-jones-says-ufc-on-versus-2-opponent-tougher-than-previous-two.mma Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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